Journey to the U.S. Transplant Games – Chapter 2

It’s hard to believe that the games are just 38 days away!!  This year, team Illinois will be traveling to Madison, WI, with the largest team ever, with more than 91 athletes competing to bring home the gold.  Athletic events that you can participate in include: the 5K road race, ballroom dancing, swimming, cycling, bowling, table tennis, racquetball, basketball, badminton, golf, tennis and volleyball.

Often, people that have overcome the challenge of having a transplant may be perceived as not being able to fully participate in activities they would have before their transplant; this is merely a myth.  Transplant recipients can go on to live long, healthy, active lives.  On September 15th of this year, I will be celebrating 12 years post transplant and I feel as though I’m stronger than ever!

This year, I will be competing in basketball and volleyball.  Currently, our basketball team has been practicing every two weeks with Coach Don Rowley, a two time cornea recipient who has received the gift of sight.  Don has many years of experience with coaching and we welcome him into our transplant family. Our volleyball team has also scheduled some practice time as well.

Athletic events are not the only activities that are present at the games.  The donor recognition ceremony is in honor of those that lost their lives but in the same sense, gave life to those that were in need of a transplant.  It gives us the opportunity to honor them as well as their families.   Other events include: the donor/living donor tribute, the games expo, the opening ceremony where the torch will be lit as a symbol that the games have begun as well as the closing ceremony where the Jerry Cound Outstanding Athlete awards, Team Cup and other recognition awards will be presented and flame of the Games cauldron will be extinguished.  You can also view the quilt pinning where donor family members are given the opportunity to share the meaning behind their quilt patch. You do not want to miss any of these events; each one very unique, yet all so very important to the topic of organ donor awareness.

Keep on training and working hard!!!!


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